News Letter

News Letter

Thursday, July 20, 2006

No 109

Dear Customers & Friends
Hello from Japan! This is Kimono Flea Market ICHIROYA's News LetterNo.109.
I expect some customers hear about the snap election of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. In this letter I would like to write about our feeling about the election, although it has no relation to kimono.Here in Japan, summer is ending, and autumn is around the corner, just like our country's future. The declining birthrate is going to bring down the nation's population in very near future. Our annual government expenditure is approx 80 trillion yen, but we only have 40 trillion tax revenue. The debt of all national and local public entities is said to be almost 1000 trillion yen.It is because we couldn't change our system after bubble economy burst. Many business enterprises did brutal restricturing and remodel themselves to meet the shrinking economy, and otherwise enterprises went bankrupt. During the depression, government spent incredible money on public works with issuing a huge amount of government bonds. But public works didn't not get anywhere, and only the debt piled up.Finally people noticed that we couldn't rely on public works as ever - We had to transform the whole nation's system. We should stop to make express highways in rural district, where we can not expect much traffics. During the high-growth period, people had selected the politicians who could make their local regions rich with public works. In a manner, people, politicians, officialism and civil engineering constructor had been made the iron quadrangle. For example, THREE huge bridges were made between Shikoku Island and Honsyu Island. It is the similar scales as the tunnel of Straits of Dover - please imagine the three tunnels there. The population of Shikoku island is only four millions. As a result the debt of the bridges piled up to 3 trillion yen, and annual transit fare is way under the interest payment. So the huge three bridges symbolize the bad situation of whole Japan. The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) made and maintained the system. The huge money for public works had been collected by post offices as the post-office savings, and its sum ( it is called 'special account') had been way larger( FIVE TIMES!) than official government expenditure . And it had been difficult to be watched, and politicians of LDP and officialism used them as they wanted. People noticed to change the systems instead of public works. And at that time, Mr. Junichiro Koizumi appeared on the scene with shouting ' I will knock up LDP by myself '. He saved the JDP, which might to have to step down from power. People greeted him as a savior of the nation. It was four years ago. And he failed to privatize the Public Roads Administration. Road construction lobbyist were strong, and we thought even Koizumi couldn't beat them. He looked as if he abandoned his belief. I was also very disappointed to think we couldn't change the systems because the iron quadrangle was still very stiff - We had to be ruined again, before genuine revival.
But this time, Prime Minister Koizumi firmly insisted to the proposal to privatize the country's postal system. There were some oppositionists also in LDP, and the proposal was rejected at upper house of Parliament. This proposal is very important for the restructing the existing Japanese system, and scale down the government. Old type politicians of LDP opposed the proposal, and also all opposition parties opposed. In the opponents, some powerful party members were included, who were the member of the iron quadrangle. And both only opposed the proposal and procedures of Prime Minister, but they didn't made counterproposal.
Maybe all Japanese thought that Mr. Koizumi would come to a compromise at the last second, and also this reform would be significantly watered down. Prime Minister Koizumi defy the prediction.He insists the proposal, and declared to ask people about the propriety of the proposal by votes (general election). He didn't give official party endorsement to the candidates, who opposed the proposal. Not only that he run party-endorsed candidates for all opposed candidates. He says it is because every people must have a candidate who approve the proposal.So the election became the battle of the reformist vs. the conservatives of the same party LDP, instead of the battle of ruling Liberal Democratic Party vs. opposition Democratic Party. Prime Minister Koizumi looks as if he was the opposition leader, and he looks he is the most radical reformer. Many people must feel like me, and approval ratings for Prime Minister Koizumi is rising.
Three days ago, the vice-president of Public Roads Administration was arrested for violation of the antitrust laws. He is the virtual president, and the key persorn of the bid-rigging on public works projects. Sometimes officer are arrested, but always they were only petty officials. We really astonished to hear that HE was arrested. Major news papers don't write, but some mass media writes Mr. Koizumi had to order to arrest him. He looked to abandon to reform the Public Roads Administrations, but he seems not to abandon. He seems to have stepped back once, and waited for opportunity.
Now we have bright hope for our future after a long interval. We may be able to change our country without leaving the adverse legacy to our descendent. Thank you very much for reading our newsletter.We are adding some charming ranru and haori soon. We will be happy if you have time to check our new arrivals.domo arigato gozaimasu
Ichiro & Yuka WadaKimono Flea Market "ICHIROYA"
e-mail: info@ichiroya.comaddress: Asia-shoji Bldg.301 1841-1 Nishi 1 chome Wakamatsu cho Tondabayashi city Osaka 584-0025 JAPANTEL&FAX ****( international number ) - 81-721-23-5446


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